Ultimate Written Exam
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|It is said whoever scores the highest grade on the Ultimate Written Exam is destined to make a Death Scythe. As students compete to earn the highest grade on this test, the study habits of Maka Albarn and her classmates are revealed.|
In Class Crescent Moon, seated in a rolling chair at the foot of the classroom, Franken Stein asks whether his students have been studying for next week's Ultimate Written Exam, a test for both meisters and weapons. While the other students seem neutral or annoyed, Maka has been anticipating this test for a month. Stein then explains he has written this year's exam questions. While he anticipates many students are worried and many are excited, he wishes them good luck. Stein then puts his feet to his desk and kicks off, rolling away on his chair as he dismisses class—and falls off his chair as it collides with the uneven entrance to the hallway.
Students seem worried about this Ultimate Written Test, confirming that it is just for soul studies and whether they will pass. What really attracts Maka's attention is a discussion between one student and Ox Ford, a student with a shaved head except for two hair spikes along both sides of his head. The student asks Ox whether he anticipates getting the highest grade again on the Ultimate Written Test, which worries Maka, as she came in second to Ox last year.
Maka then hears Soul discussing with Black Star how the person with the highest grade on the Ultimate Written Test is destined to make Death's Weapon. Black Star accepts this challenge to earn the highest grade to make Tsubaki Nakatsukasa into a Death Scythe, as Maka determines to do so as well, because her mother also was top of her class. But Maka grows worried when she hears Death the Kid say he need not study to get the highest grade, even as Liz Thompson criticizes her meister's cockiness and Patty Thompson is gleeful at working hard for taking their first test.
Behind Maka and her classmates, a man stands, ready to take action. It is Spirit Albarn, waving his hands and fingers towards his daughter. Stein, without his chair, walks up from behind Spirit to ask what he is doing. "I'm just sending some 'good luck' vibes to my daughter," Spirit explains. Stein is bemused but allows Spirit to persist.
Maka and Soul's ApartmentEdit
It is sunset, three days until the Ultimate Written Test. Blair, in her cat form, sits atop the desk in Maka's bedroom, as Maka, her hair tied in odango, deposits a set of books for studying. Prompted by Blair's question, Maka explains that she thinks tests are fun, like a game to see how quickly she can rise in ranks. She also explains to Blair the superstition that whoever gets first on the Ultimate Written Test is destined to make a Death Scythe.
Blair departs Maka's bedroom to visit Soul's, finding him studying as well. Annoyed by Blair's arrival, Soul tells the cat to leave. But as she complains she is bored, Blair transforms into her human form, in just a string bikini and shoves Soul's head and hand to her breasts, demanding he play with her. Soul has a nosebleed and shouts, the rumbling of his and Blair's "play" annoying Maka to the point that, as she is writing notes, she snaps her pencil.
Black Star and Tsubaki's ApartmentEdit
Black Star is finishing pushups—500 one-arm, vertical pushups—as self-inflicted punishment for his failure to correctly answer a practice question for the Ultimate Written Exam. Seated at his table with Tsubaki in their small apartment, he promises to do 1,000 stomach crunches if he fails to answer the next question correctly.
"Shit!" Black Star shouts as he proceeds to start 1,000 stomach crunches. Tsubaki urges her meister to stop these punishment games, offering to help him study.
Liz tosses her hat on its hook, changing into a business dress with a hairband and fashion glasses to present herself as a capable, studious individual. Patty is impressed with her sister's new outfit as the two prepare to study.
In the dining room, the Thompsons study—or, at least Liz seems to be studying, while Patty is staring at her closed book. Kid enters, initially impressed to see the two studying—until he sees Patty has already rested her head on the dining room table to sleep, and Liz is holding tweezers before a mirror as she wants to even her eyebrows. Kid enthusiastically offers to help Liz make her eyebrows symmetrical, but she refuses, asking him how long it took him to do so last time: he guesses three days, she corrects him that it was an entire month. Kid begs Liz, and she relents, reasoning she has little choice.
But rather than tend to her eyebrows, Kid first brings a drafting table to the dining room to diagram the proper shape for Liz's eyebrows. She orders him to die before saying that her eyebrows "aren't that great."
Black Star and Tsubaki's ApartmentEdit
One day before the Ultimate Written Exam, the Moon is outside, seeming to ask whether all students are studying.
In her bathroom, Tsubaki bathes, thinking about tomorrow's test but also pleased that Black Star is studying so seriously. As she anticipates he will be hungry, she plans to make snacks after her bath.
Upon finishing her bath, Tsubaki enters the living room with a plate of onigiri, only to find that the room is empty, a breeze coming through the open window.
"Hyahah!!" Black Star shouts—despite better knowledge that he has to be quiet if he is to sneak through Stein's office, steal the Ultimate Written Exam, and copy its answers so he may cheat his way to the top score. He removes his shoes and tiptoes to find the test, until his stomach growls with hunger.
Black Star then discovers two stacks of papers, Stein's copies of the Ultimate Written Exam. The ninja sits before the piles to read the test, praising himself as a "god" who will "get a perfect score." But as he laughs with self-satisfaction, he hears a cranking sound, turning to see a very upset Stein tightening the screw through his head. Stein cracks his own neck. From outside Patchwork Lab, a scream is heard.
Black Star and Tsubaki's ApartmentEdit
Tsubaki searches for Black Star, looking under even the seat cushion on the floor.
Liz is surprised Kid is still diagramming her eyebrows, so she asks whether he should study instead. Kid assures Liz that as a shinigami he knows all about soul studies. He then claims Liz is the one who should study, as she is busy painting her nails. Meanwhile, Patty still has her head down on the table, asleep.
Maka and Soul's ApartmentEdit
Soul sits at his desk, laughing with a crafty grin at having finished some project.
At the street below his daughter's apartment, Spirit has lit a fire, where he chants a good luck prayer for his daughter.
Blair, in her cat form and without her hat, is content as she is seated on Maka's lap, being petted. Maka announces she has studied as much as she can, so she goes to her open windows and shouts that she will do her best. Above, the Moon seems to say, "Ah, youth..."
Class Crescent MoonEdit
On the day of the Ultimate Written Exam, Sid Barrett stands before the class, announcing he is standing in for Stein as proctor for this test. The tests are facedown in front of the students. But before the test begins, Sid makes an announcement, gesturing to a student, beaten bloody and hanged by a screw that was smashed into the wall next to the blackboard, cracks form in that wall. The student, to Tsubaki's horror, is Black Star, who was caught sneaking into Patchwork Lab last night to steal the test. As Black Star mutters incoherently (yet still has stars at the end of his muttering), Sid points to Black Star as a reminder to what will happen to anyone who cheats on this exam.
Sid announces that students will have 60 minutes to finish this test. When the clock chimes "Ding dong! DEAD dong!" around 9 AM, Sid announces students may flip their papers up to begin the test.
As the test begins, a blushing Maka assures herself she is ready, Tsubaki bemoans the "idiot" Black Star, Kid is stoic, Liz finds the test "scary," and Patty is giggling. Soul, too, is giggling, as he thinks anyone who takes this test "seriously" is an "idiot." Rather than take the test slow and steady like the Tortoise against the Hare, Soul intends to do anything to get the highest score, which is why he covered his entire body in cheat sheets. He tugs on his headband and looks under it, laughing as he writes the correct answer.
Before Soul or Maka can answer any question, however, Soul sneezes. He is knelt before the class, stripped by Sid of all his clothes except his underwear, as that seems to be the only article of clothing without any cheat sheets. His classmates are stunned, while Maka is embarrassed at her "idiot" of a weapon. While Sid allows Soul to return to his seat, sans clothes, to finish the test because he "was the kind of guy who'd let you slide one time," the blushing Maka struggles to focus on the exam.
Maka looks at the first question, a fill-in-the-blank: "A sound soul dwells in a sound [ ] and a sound [ ]." Maka, still blushing, is pleased to know this answer immediately: "A sound soul dwells in a sound mind and a sound body." But Liz is less convinced that her answer is correct: "A sound soul dwells in a sound skin and a sound cuticle."
Returned to his seat, the underwear-clad Soul is annoyed at how uncool his situation is: he has not yet answered one question. But he smirks, noticing who sits to his right. With Kid seated next to him, Soul can look off of the shinigami's test to get all the correct answers. However, as Soul is shocked to see, Kid has not even finished writing his name perfectly, erasing and attempting to re-write his name. Soul then decides to risk cheating off the person to his left, but he is confused to see that this person is finishing the test with crayons. This person is Patty, who has used up almost all of the yellow crayon. Soul bangs his head down onto his desk as Patty starts chanting, "Giraffe!"
Meanwhile, Maka has moved onto the tenth question, which is a true or false. Maka recognizes that the question is a trick, seeming to be false when the real answer is true. When Tsubaki gets to this tenth question, she is listed as "easy to fool" and hence considers the answer is false.
Later, Sid announces that only ten minutes remain for this test. Soul is irritated at Kid's slowness to write his own name, and he can't cheat off Patty because she has transformed her test sheets into a paper sculpture of a giraffe. Patty at first is clapping before threatening to snap this giraffe's neck. Meanwhile, Kid is sobbing that he cannot place the "K" properly in his name. Kid desperately tries to erase part of his name to re-write it—and rips a corner of his test sheet. Kid screams and collapses to the floor, blood coming from his mouth. Soul alerts Sid to Kid's collapse, but Sid tells the student to let Kid be.
Soul then hears a rumbling come from the front of the class, as if someone is calling his name. He looks to where Black Star is screwed into the wall. With his own blood on his finger, Black Star begins to write on the classroom wall. Soul grins, expecting that, as Black Star already saw the answers when sneaking into Stein's lab, that he is going to write answers for Soul to write. But all Black Star did was write his autograph on the wall and give a thumbs up. Soul shouts at his classmate then slams his head onto his desk, while Kid, still on the floor up with his legs up in the air, twitches and Patty snaps the neck of her giraffe sculpture. The clock then chimes, concluding this test. "No," Soul realizes, the test "was over when I was stripped to my underwear."
Meanwhile, Maka grins, satisfied that she has reviewed her answers twice and that her study paid off.
Maka and Soul's ApartmentEdit
That evening, Maka sits on the living room couch, has a feet up on the table as well as a hot beverage. Soul walks behind her, wiping his hands on his apron. Seeing she is flipping through a book, he asks whether she is still studying even after the test. Maka explains that the apartment was a mess after her test preparation, and while cleaning, she found this photograph album. Soul looks over Maka's shoulder, seeing her as a baby held by her father. Soul is surprised how young Spirit looks, as Maka explains that her father was 18 when she was born. The next photographs shows Spirit reading a picture book along with his young daughter. As Maka looks at the photograph, she smiles and blushes.
Blair congratulates Spirit on Maka earning the top score on the Ultimate Written Exam, saying his three days of good vibrations helped his daughter. Spirit says Maka is at the top of her class, just like his ex-wife.
Spirit then hands Blair an envelope with money and a card. Spirit wants to congratulate his daughter but fears that Maka will reject any gift directly from him. Therefore, he asks that Blair find out which book Maka wants and to buy it for her. Blair giggles at how much Spirit loves his daughter and agrees to fulfill his request.
Maka and Soul's ApartmentEdit
Blair stands in the hallway before the front door, moping that instead of buying Spirit's gift, she bought something for herself. She remembers seeing something so cute on a mannequin at a store's window display, and as she was poor, she gave into temptation, which seems appropriate as she is usually the one to tempt. Blair decides that she cannot keep this gift for herself, so she's use her magic to adjust the purchase's size and give it as Spirit's gift.
Blair enters, announcing she has a gift from Spirit for Maka as congratulations for her exam performance. Maka reaches into the shopping bag—and wears a disturbed look as she removes panties. Soul is surprised as well, sweating and a bit of drool coming from his mouth. Maka dumps the entire contents of "Spirit's gift" to the table: a string top, the panties, and a copy of Kama Sutra. Maka is disgusted that her father would give her "sexy lingerie." Soul is distracted, holding up the panties to the wall calendar and exclaiming that they are so sheer that he can see through them.
Blair then hands Maka a card that Spirit wrote to his daughter. The card congratulates Maka for all of her studying and expresses hope that Maka enjoys the present. Maka trembles with rage at how her father seems to want to make her into "a lewd girl." Soul is dumbstruck: "He's gone way past letch and into downright gross territory." Maka then refers to her father as a "scumbag" whom she hates.
Somewhere else, Spirit is pleased with himself, wondering whether his daughter is enjoying his gift.
The results of the Ultimate Written Exam are then posted for readers: out of 130 students, Maka earned first place with 100 points, Ox second 99, Tsubaki seventh-seventh with 81, Soul one hundred eighth with 35 points, Liz one hundred thirteenth with 28 points, Patty one hundred twenty-eighth with 2 points (as the pattern on her giraffe answered some questions correctly), and Black Star and Kid "out of consideration" with 0 points. Death announces that all students who scored fewer points than Soul will take a makeup exam.
Manga and Anime DifferencesEdit
- Chapter 12 begins with Stein assigning the Ultimate Written Exam to his students. Episode 14 begins with an anime-exclusive opening in which Maka falls asleep from studying, dreaming of Death inviting her and Soul to the Death Room where, in front of their friends and classmates, Death announces Maka has gathered the 99 souls and one witch's soul to make Soul into a Death Scythe.
- At the beginning of Chapter 12, Maka has black ribbons around her pigtails, similar to the ones she had in Chapter 0.1. Maka never wears these black pigtail ribbons at any point in the anime, although she wears ribbons of a different color around her pigtails for her formal attire in Episode 18.
- In Episode 14, the student who speaks with Ox about last year's test is Harvar D. Éclair. In Chapter 12, the student does not look like Harvar and is likely an anonymous extra. Harvar would appear as Ox's weapon in a later chapter.
- In Episode 14, Liz and Patty study in a seemingly generic room of Gallows Mansion. In Chapter 12, this room looks much more like a traditional dining room, with a long table with multiple candle stands, a fireplace, paintings with ornate frames, and similarly ornate paneling.
- Episode 14 includes an additional montage of Stein, Spirit, and students preparing for the Ultimate Written Exam, a montage united by Blair's travels through Death City to observe these persons:
- In her kitchen, Maka prepares a concoction to drink, which includes raw eggs. Blair seems bemused by this behavior.
- Blair leaves Maka and Soul's apartment to find Spirit in the street, in front of a fire as he chants his daughter's name to send positive energy to her. Blair shrieks before someone (likely Maka) drops a bucket of water—and the whole bucket—atop Spirit's head, which fails to deter his chant.
- Black Star is doing sit-ups as Tsubaki holds a book over his legs so he may read while evidently still punishing himself for incorrect answers. Blair sits outside their window, waving a flag to encourage their progress.
- At Gallows Mansion, Kid completes his diagram of Liz's face, Patty is still sleeping, and Liz has moved on to painting her nails.
- Stein types the Ultimate Written Exam on his computer, then grins at the camera, his glasses reflecting light. Blair, watching him, then complains that no one wants to play with her.
- In Chapter 12, words appear around the Moon, as if the satellite itself is encouraging the students to study. In Episode 14, the Moon says nothing except its usual laugh, and no words similar to those from Chapter 12 appear on screen or in narration.
- In Chapter 12, when Black Star enters Patchwork Lab, he shouts, "Hyahah!!" In Episode 14, he instead yells his more customary shout, "Yahoo!"
- In Chapter 12, as Black Star sneaks through Patchwork Lab, his stomach growls. In Episode 14, his stomach never growls.
- In Episode 14, Blair joins Maka at the windowsill to shout the night before the exam. In Chapter 12, only Maka is shouting.
- In Episode 14, Kid's collapse during the Ultimate Written Exam is more gory: not only does blood come from his mouth but in fact it explodes from his mouth and eyes, the blood forming the shape of a skull.
- Episode 14 includes additional scenes during the Ultimate Written Exam not included in Chapter 12:
- After Maka determines that the tenth question is a trick question, she is surprised to hear Ox announce to Sid that he has completed his test. After Sid tells Ox to read quietly, Ox turns to sneer at Maka, raising her ire. His attitude also annoys Liz, who sits behind him.
- Liz then notices that Ox has one strand of hair atop his shaved head. In the course of the remainder of the test, Liz slowly inches towards Ox's head, and at the same moment that Patty snaps the neck of the giraffe sculpture, Liz rips the strand out of Ox's head, his scream of pain accompanied by both Thompsons announcing victory over their respective acts of violence.
- When Soul screams at Black Star for writing his autograph, he is hit in the head by a chalkboard eraser thrown at him by Sid.
- Later, whether the same day as the test or a few days later, Maka is in the hallway before a bulletin board, her eyes closed as she prepares to look at the board's list of Ultimate Written Exam grades. She opens her eyes to see the names of all students and their test scores, seeing that she scored one point higher than Ox to take the top spot. She then calmly walks away. This scene is not included in Chapter 12; instead, the last page of this chapter has Death provide a list of all scores and announce who will take make-up exams.
- In Episode 14, when Black Star, pinned to the chalkboard, writes his autograph on the chalkboard, he first sticks his finger up his nostrils to get blood. In Chapter 12, it is not shown from which injury Black Star, pinned to the classroom wall, gathers the blood to write, and he writes onto the classroom wall, not the chalkboard.
- In Episode 14, Soul brings hot tea and pumpkin pie to Maka, then asks whether she got her love of reading from Spirit, which she suggests may be true. In Chapter 12, Maka already has a hot beverage on the living room table, Soul does not bring tea and pie, and Soul does not ask about Maka's love of reading. As such, while Maka welcomes Blair in Episode 14 with an announcement that there is pie, she makes no such remark in Chapter 12.
- In Chapter 12, Spirit refers to Maka's mother as "my (ex) wife." In Episode 14, he refers to her as his wife before Blair corrects him.
- In Chapter 12, Blair bought a string top, thong panties, and a copy of the book Kama Sutra. In Episode 14, Blair bought only the top and the panties, not the Kama Sutra.
- The scene in which Maka (and Soul) react to her father's supposed gift is longer in Chapter 12 than Episode 14. In Episode 14, while handing the gift to Maka, Blair sweats and cringes in embarrassment alongside Soul at how poorly received is "Spirit's" perverted gift. Soul and Blair then sneak away while Maka rips apart the greeting card. In Chapter 12, Blair's expressions are not seen to indicate whether she realizes how poorly her actions maka Spirit appear. And rather than sneak away with Blair, Soul stays near Maka during her trembling fury at her father, as he notices how transparent are the panties and refers to Spirit as being more perverted than he thought.
- Chapter 12 features dialogue from Death providing a list of all students' grades from the exam and announcing which students must take the make-up exam. This list appears in Episode 14 on a hallway bulletin board, yet it is not as easy to read due to Maka and students standing before it. However, some of the zero-point scores, such as Black Star's, are easy to see in the lower right-hand corner of the bulletin board.
- Maka and Soul's outfits on the colorized cover resemble their outfits in the anime's second closing theme, "Style."
- In their first appearance in this chapter, Maka and Soul are looking at Stein as he lectures, while it looks like Patty is staring directly at the readers.
- Soul explains to Black Star that the person who gets the highest grade on the Ultimate Written Test is destined to make a Death Scythe. While Maka earned the highest grade on this test and made their weapons into Death Scythes, Ox also earned the highest grade but was never shown to have made Harvar into a Death Scythe.
- Maka says her mother "was at the top of her class." While she does not say whether her mother got the highest grade on the Ultimate Written Test to become top of her class, the implication seems likely, especially as Maka makes this remark after hearing Soul say that the person who gets the highest grade on the Ultimate Written Test is destined to make a Death Scythe, as Maka's mother did with Spirit.
- When studying for the Ultimate Written Exam, Maka wears her hair in odango and wears an outfit similar to a changshan.
- Black Star and Tsubaki's apartment, which makes its first appearance in this chapter, includes scrolls with messages that are apt for Black Star's boisterous, self-inflating personality: "Sky above, sky below, I above stand almighty," and "God."
- This chapter clarifies some rules and traits of the Ultimate Written Exam:
- The Ultimate Written Exam allows students 60 minutes to answer all questions. One instance of the test seemed to began around 9:00 AM.
- No cheating is allowed on the exam. Students like Black Star who snuck into Patchwork Lab to find the answer sheet before the test are beaten by Stein and pinned to the front of the classroom. Students like Soul who have cheat sheets covering their entire body are stripped to their underwear but, depending on the flexibility of the proctor such as Sid are allowed to return to their seats, sans clothes, to complete the test.
- The first test question to the Ultimate Written Exam, although with some variation to its prepositional phrases, is used as the quotation that begins every episode of the anime Soul Eater: "A sound soul dwells in a sound mind and a sound body." This phrase is also used as the title to the manga's very last chapter.
- When Soul reviews his cheat sheet, it is full of excerpts from the works of Lewis Carroll, author of Alice Through the Looking Glass. More excerpts from Carroll's works appear in the Book of Eibon.
- Soul's bone-covered boxers allude to Shotaro, the protagonist of Okubo's previous manga, B. Ichi. Shotaro's powers come from biting on the bones of animals. At one point in B. Ichi, Shotaro's boxers are decorated with bones, resembling the ones that Soul wears in this episode.
- Before Sid announces that there are only ten minutes left in the Ultimate Written Exam, one of the clocks shown droops over an object, as if it is melting, an allusion to the artwork of Salvador Dali.
- When Blair is confused at Spirit's request for a favor, her question mark has cat ears.
- The Kama Sutra is an ancient Indian Hindu text considered to be the standard work on human sexual behavior in Sanskrit literature written by Vātsyāyana.
- Soul was in 108th place on his exam. In Buddhism, 108 is associated with fate, hence at times with bad luck.
- ↑ Soul Eater Chapter 72
- ↑ B. Ichi Manga: Chapter 11
- ↑ "Kama Sutra." Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kama_Sutra Accessed 10 June 2015.